Nebraska finished last season 5-13 in the Big Ten (13-18 overall) and lost its final nine games. The Cornhuskers have started this season 7-4, with three of their four losses coming against ranked teams. Whileeveryone wants to win now, Tim Miles and his Cornhuskers are looking to the bright future. Miles has brought an energy to a basketball program that has, quite frankly, not been energized in some time.
Nebraska only has two seniors on the roster. Granted, they're very talented seniors: Benny Parker and Shavon Shields. Both are top four in minutes played and Shields is the team's second leading scorer at 15 per game. That being said, Miles also utilizes a pretty sizable rotation. Nobody's averaging more than 30 MPG and he has been playing nine guys double digit minutes a night, an indication of someone who wants to mix-and-match lineups and give younger guys experience. Let's take a look at some of the younger talent on the roster and what's coming to Lincoln in the next year.
Shields and Parker anchor this unit currently, but the future has plenty of talent and potential. Tai Webster, another more experienced player on the roster, is tied with Shields for the most average minutes played. Webster's averaging 9.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in his junior season.
Glynn Watson, Jr. was a 4-star recruit, and has made an immediate impact at point guard for Nebraska. Miles is trusting him to play big minutes during big moments and he's responded. Most recently, Watson had a career high 17 points in Nebraska's latest victory over Rhode Island. Bakari Evans, another freshman, has seen spot minutes, but was a 3-star recruit, and could grow with more experience and opportunities.
Looking into 2016, Nebraska is looking at Jerry Myles and Eron Gordon, although they only have one spot open for next season. Myles is a 3-star small forward and Gordon is a 3-start shooting guard, according to ESPN. Isaiah Roby, a 3-star small forward, is already committed for next season. Roby rose during the recruiting process and is a long, lean athlete who'll need to add strength, but he's a fairly dynamic offensive player already.
Miles has made offers to 11 wing and backcourt recruits for the 2017-18 class. A somewhat local product (from Omaha), Aguek Arop, a 6'4", 175 pound small forward, has verbally committed to that class, but the Huskers have cast a wide net in the recruiting process, so much is left to shake out.
The Husker frontcourt is really young this season as they don't have a junior or senior on the roster in those two units. Jake Hammond is the experience on the roster. As a sophomore, he's averaging four points and four rebounds in 16 minutes per game. Ed Morrow, Jr. is a freshman playing about 15 minutes a night and he's another Simeon (Chicago) product who should be a foundational piece for Nebraska moving forward. Morrow is a great athlete and that will translate as he becomes more acclimated to the college game. Michael Jacobson is another freshman who is playing double digit minutes in the frontcourt. Coming to Nebrasska, Jacobson knew there'd be opportunities for him to play early and that has been the case so far.
Into next season, Miles has secured a commitment from Jeriah Horne, a 6'6", 220-pound forward from Kansas City. He's a big guy, but pretty skilled for his size. Miles also extended an offer to 5-star center Marques Bolden, but it would appear that Bolden is setting his sights on Kentucky, Kansas or Duke instead. Jordy Tshimanga is another target of Miles, though it'll be interesting to see if Miles can land the target. In 2017-18, the Huskers are targeting six recruits at power forward, but that's a bit too far off to really get into.
Like I said earlier, Miles has energized the Nebraska basketball program and loaded the recruiting pipeline with talent. In addition to the freshman on the roster this season, Nebraska is looking to establish a great foundation and winning tradition. Certainly, the Cornhuskers are off to a solid enough start in 2015-16, but once Big Ten play starts they'll need to sustain the success from the first two months. The Big Ten is pretty top heavy, which means Nebraska will get opportunities to get program building wins and give the young roster experience in big games.